Washington- Today the USDOT/FMCSA announced a new program for commercial motor vehicle drivers to evaluate two additional options for splitting sleeper berth periods, including a 6/4 split and a 5/5 split.

FMCSA Deputy Administrator Wiley Deck stated “We encourage everyone to review this proposal and provide their public comments.” The new pilot program will allow the FMCSA to continue to explore ways to provide flexibility for drivers, while maintaining roadway safety. Data provided from participants in the pilot program will be used by the agency to benefit all CMV stakeholders.

Throughout the pilot program, the combined rest time of at least ten hours in length will be split into two periods. Participating drivers will be expected to split their sleeper berth time into two periods, neither shorter than four hours in length. However, drivers may choose to operate or not under the exemption, based on their schedule. Drivers desiring to participate in the program should apply to FMCSA for acceptance into the proposed pilot.

The FMCSA has asked for additional data from participants of the 5/4 and 5/5 split periods, to benefit the rulemaking process on Hours of Service reform. As the primary agency responsible for CMV safety and operations, the FMCSA is best positioned to collect data on split sleeper periods.

Motor Carrier stakeholders have worked closely with the FMCSA, discussing the issue of sleeper berth periods. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has supported the efforts to explore sleeper berth options, stating “the majority of Teamster drivers... indicated they preferred having more flexibility in the time that they can obtain restorative rest periods.”

During the Trump Administration, FMCSA has focused on providing additional flexibility for commercial drivers, while maintaining the highest level of safety. In May 2020, FMCSA published updates to the hours-of-service rules that were based directly off the feedback the Agency heard from commercial drivers regarding the need for increased flexibility and improved safety.

Throughout the Trump administration, the FMCSA focused on providing additional flexibility for commercial drivers, while keeping safety the highest priority. As of May 2020, updates

The Federal Register notice will have a 60-day comment period. To read the Agency’s notice of the proposed pilot program, visit: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-service-drivers-pilot-program-allow-commercial-drivers-split-sleeper-berth-time

Source: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/newsroom/fmcsa-proposes-new-pilot-program-provide-commercial-drivers-additional-hours-service